When people marry, there’s always a chance that they will eventually divorce. While the divorce itself may be difficult to handle personally, many people struggle the most when it’s time to talk to their children.
Parents often try hard not to upset their children, yet it is important to remember that being upset is healthy and normal in the wake of upsetting news. Delaying the talk just before everything changes may create issues for your children. Instead, you may want to consider the following tips based on what you know about how your children process information. After all, every child is unique and you need to do what is best for your singular child.
Prepare the talk in advance
You may not want to suddenly spring the topic of divorce on your children at a moment’s notice. Instead, you may want to carefully plan out your talk. For starters, you may want to talk with your soon-to-be ex-spouse about what should be discussed.
Additionally, you may want to consider when and where you talk to your children. Telling your children about the divorce just before school or bed may not be the healthiest approach. While talking about it on a walk after dinner if your kids are very small or on the weekend if your kids are older and a weeknight chat could impact their schoolwork may be preferable.
Talk together as a family
You may want to present the issue as a family matter. After all, you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse are still your children’s parents. So, when you talk to your children, you may want to do it together in order to reinforce the fact that they’re not losing either of you.
Describe what might change
You know what divorce means, but your children may not. Put simply, you should explain how divorce will change your children’s lives. You may not know every detail, but you may be able to metaphorically paint a picture so that they can better expect what is coming.
Let your children ask questions
Depending on your children’s ages, they may have tons of questions or none at all. If your children do have questions, then you should generally answer them to the best of your ability, in age-appropriate ways. There may be some questions that you can’t answer and others that you shouldn’t answer, but those scenarios should be relatively rare.
To prepare for a divorce, it is important to know your legal options, especially when you have children to think of. By seeking legal guidance, you’ll place yourself in a strong position to advocate for both your own needs and for theirs.